Lawmakers seek answers on armed services’ plans to address gun tracking

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) arrives for a Democratic Caucus meeting on Monday, August 23, 2021 to discuss the infrastructure deal and budget.
Greg Nash

Democratic lawmakers are seeking answers from the armed services regarding their plans to better track military equipment. 

Democratic Reps. Jamie Raskin (Md.), Stephen Lynch (Mass.) and Robin Kelly (Ill.) sent a letter to the secretary of of Defense, Army, Navy and Air Force on Monday to ask what the departments are doing to account for military equipment and make sure that it isn’t stolen.

The letter comes after an investigation from The Associated Press published in June found there were at least 1,900 military firearms stolen from 2010 to 2019. Some of them resurfaced after being used in violent crimes, according to the report. 

Although officials have told Congress they would develop a plan and acknowledged the missing equipment, the representatives believe the departments have not followed through.

“Nevertheless, we are concerned that DOD has seemingly not yet developed a coherent strategy to improve its ability to account for military weapons and equipment,” the letter states.

“It also appears that some of the military departments have employed radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to help inventory firearms, which might inadvertently endanger the safety and security of our men and women in uniform,” it added.

The Associated Press reported in September the Air Force and Army were using RFID technology to track weapons, but a Defense spokesperson told the outlet the technology “pose[s] a significant operations security risk in the field, allowing an adversary to easily identify DOD personnel operating locations and potentially even their identity.” 

The representatives asked the secretaries enumerate on what steps they are taking to better track weapons, what physical security measures are in place, what they are doing about unaccounted-for weapons and the full use of RFID technology among the departments. 

Lawmakers in the House and Senate added stricter accountability rules in the National Defense Authorization Act following the AP’s investigation, The Associated Press reported.

Tags Department of Defense Jamie Raskin military weapons Robin Kelly Stephen Lynch

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